The President of the United States, Joe Biden, spoke this Tuesday from Mexico City for the first time on the discovery in a private office of his of a dozen confidential documents from the time when he was vice president of Barack Obama. He has been “surprised” to learn that there were documents from that stage in a closet in an office that he gave private use to, he has assured that he takes confidential information seriously and that he is unaware of the content of said documents.
Biden has appeared after the North American Leaders Summit, known as the summit of the three Amigos, along with the President of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, and the Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau. The first question was about the border, but Biden clearly expected this second one and began by answering it and joking that he didn’t remember the first one.
“People know that I take documents with classified information seriously,” he began. “They found some documents in a box, in a locked cabinet, and as soon as they did, they realized that there were several classified documents in that box. And they did what they had to: immediately call the Archives [Nacionales] and hand them over to them”, he added. “I was informed about this discovery and I was surprised to learn that there are government records that were brought to that office, but I don’t know what is in the documents,” he continued. “My lawyers have delivered the boxes to the Archives [Nacionales]and we are fully cooperating, fully cooperating with the review and hopefully it will be over soon and it will be time to give more details.”
Although the circumstances are very different, the president’s words contrast with the trial that Biden made of his predecessor for the documents that he took to his Mar-a-Lago mansion in Florida. In an interview for the program 60 minutes issued last september When asked about what he thought when he saw the photograph of the secret documents seized in the search of the Trump mansion, Biden replied: “How can that happen? How can someone be so irresponsible? (…) he is totally irresponsible ”.
The documents found in his office should not be in his possession since he left office. And the president has not given any explanation in this regard.
The main difference with Trump’s case is that those responsible for the National Archives were unaware of their existence and never asked him to hand them over and, above all, that Biden never resisted returning them or failed to comply with a request in this regard, as he did Trump, but were immediately turned over to the Archives.
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As reported this Monday, Biden’s lawyers found on November 2 a dozen documents classified as confidential in a closet at the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement, a think tank dependent on the University of Pennsylvania, in Washington, in what was a private office of the president. Although the discovery occurred days before the legislative elections on November 8, its discovery has not come to light until this Monday.
Biden used that space periodically from mid-2017 until the start of the 2020 presidential election campaign. The documents were found as the president’s lawyers were packing up files stored in a locked cabinet to prepare to vacate that office. On the same November 2, the Office of the White House Legal Counsel notified the National Archives, which took possession of the materials the following morning. Among them are memos from US intelligence services and informational material on issues such as Ukraine, Iran and the United Kingdom, according to CNN. US law requires that presidential records be retained and made available to the National Archives upon removal from office.
For Trump, in any case, it is an unexpected oxygen ball. Having accused, without evidence, Barack Obama of having seized documents from his time in the White House, he has found something even better, that his main political rival did too. “When is the FBI going to raid Joe Biden’s many homes, maybe even the White House? These documents were definitely not declassified.” he wrote Monday on his social network, Truth Social. Trump has wondered this Tuesday why the finding was not made public before the November 8 elections.
This same Tuesday, the new majority of the House of Representatives has approved the creation of a subcommittee to investigate what the Republicans consider a partisan use of the Department of Justice as a political weapon, in reference to the investigations that dot Trump.